A friend’s oldest child is learning to drive, and recently I happened to see her in action. At that time I also observed another driver, in another vehicle, and his interaction with my friend’s daughter. What I observed was a timid young driver not yet fully aware of everything else happening in a parking lot while the other driver, was unaware of the newness of driving for her. What I witnessed was the more experienced driver’s manifestation of frustration due to the young driver’s choice not to wait on him while he repositioned his large truck in the parking lot in order to get into a drive-thru of a local coffee shop.
Assumptions can be the death of us, can’t they? They often lack perspective or another opinion. They reflect our best observation and, perhaps, our own desire to be right in a situation or during a circumstance.
We are living in a culture that has radically shifted. In the pursuit of justice, equality, and truth, our culture has applied assumptions and judgements, while alienating others’ rights for their desire to be right, and have accepted ‘versions’ of truth that are defined not by an absolute truth, but rather, experience and opinion.
Even though we, as disciples of Christ, are living in this culture, we are to not reflect it. We must seek to abide in the grace of God, reflecting it in all that we say and do. This should impact our perspective and opinions and pursuits of justice and equality. It should define real truth. There is a fundamental difference between one’s “version” of truth and Godly truth that we must live by as followers of Christ.
This difference is to be seen in those small and simple moments like in the parking lot when we assume no one else is watching. Likewise, it must be pursued even in the quietness of our own heart and thoughts. Godly truth and the totality of God’s grace for His beloved must be demonstrated and evident in all things: our spending, our schedule, our advocacy, our dreams and goals, in our voting and opinions, in our demonstrations and claims — in all of our actions, beliefs and thoughts.
And that is not an easy pursuit. James 1:2-4 says: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” We cannot fight for real justice, equality, or absolute truth if we are not fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and if we aren’t committed to growing in the knowledge of God’s Holy Word. We must purpose to apply His truth to every aspect of our lives - even to the areas that conflict with our personal opinions, our assumptions, and our connections to the things of this world.
James 1 continues in verse 12 by saying that, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” We are to be loyally in love with God alone, not what current culture says is true or real and not what a group of people says we must pursue.
We do this, as James 1:19 says, when we “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. It's not dependent on a post we make on social media, nor will it be made more active in our protesting injustice. We need to stand for truth and we need to make a bold display in a hurting culture today, but we do so as a response to the already complete and available goodness, righteousness, truth, and hope that is found in Christ alone.
Our human efforts alone will not produce the righteousness that God desires. With less of us (our assumptions and opinions) there is room for more of Him. How are you displaying this in your life? Is the fruit of God’s Spirit alive in you, your efforts, and your desires? We cannot mix our culture with Godly truth and grace. May you be honest before the Lord and allow Him to show you the current pathways to your heart, and He will be gracious as He makes a way for you to exhibit more of Him and His truth.
Nick Emery is lead pastor at Hope Crossing Community Church